Everyone is on high alert due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most of us have hunkered down in our homes due to lockdown, possibly working remotely, or planning ways to adjust to a few months of home quarantine. Normally, it should be fun — as it’s just us, our family, and our gadgets. However, the presence of the coronavirus means we need to stay sharp and stay alert of things happening in our environment. Unfortunately, in today’s age of Netflix, Snapchat, TikTok, and other apps, we might not be as prepared as we want to. Well, are we?

In this article, we present some perspectives that members of the military and law enforcement agencies have on using apps to keep us safe — not just from the coronavirus, but in general. Because if things get worse with COVID-19, we may face violence and other dangers. Can apps, like Facetime, help us prepare and deal with these scenarios? It turns out they can:

Keep your lines of communication open to reach out to family and essential personnel.

A lot of countries will most likely be in the first month of their respective quarantine periods, and coordinated efforts from government departments mean essential utilities like water, electricity, and the internet won’t be cut off. 

It’s also advised to keep a list of relevant local numbers and hotlines of relevant government agencies to contact in case of emergency. Aside from COVID-19 hotlines, keep tabs on emergency hotlines, police, firefighters, and nearby hospitals. There are apps precisely built to call operators with your information if you can’t access help immediately — these include SafeTrek, Family Locator, and Bugle.

Additionally, apps like Facetime, Skype, and even Facebook Messenger can help you get access to important people in your life. They only require an internet connection to work, and they can support multiple people in group calls. For instance, Facetime can support up to 32 people in a single call. Likewise, you can also use these apps to call and locate people in cases of emergency or contact government authorities.  

Group FaceTime (Apple).